Tedium Rules

Last updated : 04 April 2003 By Smike
My father took me to my first football game in 1968 at Brockville (the old ground has scarcely changed in thirty five years). As a six year old, I was entranced by the spectacle (yes, entranced, spectacle and Brockville all in the same sentence). Back then football was still in the clutches of the working class. More than three decades later, society has changed – and so has the ‘beautiful game’.

Scottish football increasingly looks like a best mate who has gone off with some rich, middle-class woman and is now embarrassed to go drinking with you in your spit'n'sawdust local rather than some no smoking trendy nightclub. He's embarrassed he used to admit liking The Clash (God rest your soul, Joe Strummer) rather than Simply Red and now wears Dolce and Gabbana rather than Army and Navy. Your mate tries to tell you spending Saturdays following the arrows on the floor in Ikea is better than football but you know he's lying to himself and to you. This is modern football - the people we hate most have stolen our best mate from us. Is it any wonder I’m bored?

I'm bored because the Scottish Premier League is a non-event for ten of the twelve clubs and is infiltrated by passionless footballers from France or from the former Dutch colonies. I'm bored because all the teams from Hearts down to Motherwell are as poor as each other. If they all swapped shirts you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between them. A bland uniformity rules.

I'm bored because the transfer window has robbed us of transfer speculation - about the only thing that gets us through these extended periods of tedium. Wondering whether your club's going to sign someone from the Lithuanian Second Division (sore point – Ed) in July is all we're left with.

Wha's like him?
I'm bored because the game is so unphysical. No one can tackle without getting sent off or being branded a violent lunatic. Players fall to the pitch and roll around like hysterical pre-menstrual schoolgirls if someone breathes on them. I'm bored because most of the players have little natural ability. The few that do have anything about them like James McFadden, get so exposed we get sick to death of hearing about them. Where is this generation's Jimmy Johnstone, Willie Henderson or Kenny Dalglish? The SPL is littered with Nowhere Men. Worse still, teams are loaded with truly useless players who earn more in a month than most of us earn in a year.

I'm bored to death with international matches because they're are virtually meaningless now that club football is so much more important than playing for your country. However, if you're Scottish, you can get a cap simply by turning up at an Scotland game with two legs and by staying awake long enough. In fact, you don’t even have to be Scottish…..

I'm bored because managers are now like bland, spin inducing politicians. They stand, track-suited, against a noticeboard plastered with advertising logos and blurt out the same boring rubbish after every game and because there's nothing else to report on, it's covered in excruciating detail. At least the BBC tries. ITV's coverage is still embarrassing and Sky Sports News is psychotically pitiful in its desperation to find something interesting to say about football twenty-four hours a day.

Surely there are some more in the pipeline
I'm not alone in this boredom. A lot of grounds are half-empty because fans are bored and, worse, still have been fleeced by their clubs for the half-assed tedious entertainment. Our two biggest clubs outside the Old Firm – Hearts and Aberdeen – play to half empty stadia most Saturdays.

This is how it’s going be from now until the clubs stop bringing in players from Bulgaria or Slovakia and grow their own instead. It can't happen soon enough. This is how its going to be until the game starts being about guts and glory and pride and not about paying one-footed players five grand a week; until it's not about pleasing corporate sponsors, TV executive, middle class social commentators, businessmen or corpulent, overpaid right-wing journalists.

I've loved the game all my life because it was exciting, unpredictable, aggressive, passionate but you tell me where I can watch brilliant, exciting passionate football now?

Answers on the messageboard……..


Ger Harley (ger@scottishfitba.net)
Vanderhogg (vanderhogg@scottishfitba.net)

Special correspondents
Al McIntosh (Al@scottishfitba.net)